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Anne Arundel Executive Accused Of Sexual Harassment

| May 08, 2009, 09:07 AM | 14 Comments

Two Women Come Forward And Accuse John Leopold Of Sexual And Physical Harassment

Maybe there was some truth to the car at the mall story after all.  The Washington Post is reporting that two separate women have charged Leopold with sexual and physical harassment.

County Executive John R. Leopold, now accused of physical and sexual harassment on the job. Two women come forward. Are there more to come?

County Executive John R. Leopold, now accused of physical and sexual harassment on the job. Two women come forward. Are there more to come?

Cafeteria pick up

In one case, an African American State employee rejected Leopold’s repeated advances in the County Cafeteria on April 30, 2009, in front of five witnesses.  In a letter to the State and to the NAACP, the employee Marvenise Harris explains that Leopold asked for her  name and lifted up the work badge hanging around her neck to look at it. Then he asked whether she was married, and when Harris told him she was single with two children, Leopold responded, “a nice looking woman as yourself?”

Leopold apparently asked for her personal phone number and she explained that she did not date out of her race. when Leopold said that it did not need to be “a date”. The letter states that ” I felt at this time he was propositioning me for sex.” According to the letter, the encounter ended when “Leopold said, ‘you mean to tell me you are going to turn down all of this,’ he took his hand and [waved] it from his shoulders to his private area.”

Shades of Linda Tripp

In the other case, Karla Hammer, a former spokesperson alleged that Leopold became obsessive with the way she wore her hair and at one point on April 16, 2008, physically grabbed and shook her and yelled at her to keep the hair out of her face. She reported the incident to the County, requested and received a transfer to a different department, and was summarily dismissed three months later. Subsequently, Hammer has been unable to find work and has relacted to Arkansas.

Both women are pursuing all legal options against the Executive and the County.

When Leopold was questioned earlier this year about an incident at the Annapolis Mall, he brushed it off and refused to comment on it. It may have gone away temporarily; but it is sure to be resurrected in light of these new charges.  We always felt there was more to that story than met the eye and it appears that John Leopold may indeed need to come forward with some answers!

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Category: Breaking News, POLITICAL NEWS

About the Author - John Frenaye

John is the publisher and editor of Eye On Annapolis. As a resident and business owner in Anne Arundel County for nearly 25 years, he realized that there was something missing in terms of community news–and Eye On Annapolis was born in late spring 2009.

John’s background is in the travel industry as a business owner, industry speaker, and travel writer. In terms of blogging and social media, he cut his teeth with MSNBC.com.

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Comments (14)

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  1. where there's smoke... says:

    Seems like this guy is quite the lech — blocking her from checking out, grabbing for the badge around her neck — and in full view of witnesses? These are pretty bold and confrontational postures. I wonder how bold he is when there aren’t witnesses?

    By the time they’re in their 20s, all men know the difference between a flirtation and a confrontation. This behavior is all about wielding power.

    On a one to ten scale, the ick factor to this is a ten. Wait, I think it’s an eleven.

  2. Mike Netherland says:

    “…Karla Hammer, a former spokesperson… ,” is incorrect. She was a former SPOKESWOMAN. See, the big clue here is the in the name, Karla. Normally reserved for girls, you know, like Karla.

    The next clue is in the prounouns She and Her, as in: “….the way she wore her hair…”. Definitely a woman.

    Can you spare us the PC terminology…hmmmm?
    Thanks.

  3. where there's smoke... says:

    Mr. Netherland, as a student of language, I find it curious that you felt the need to correct the gender neutral “spokesperson” to the gender specific “spokeswoman”, but then in your next sentence you dismiss Ms. Hammer as “girl.”

    I am sure you probably are aware, since you are so in tune with the English language, that using “boy” to refer to a man and “girl” for a woman can have a negative connotation.

    But on your original point. I don’t understand the need for clarification. We say doctors and teachers and nurses, but don’t have a separate category for doctresses and teacherwomen and nurseladies. Those jobs don’t need the gender label after the title. Does it change the job description to just say spokesperson or firefighter or flight attendant?

  4. Mike Netherland says:

    Interesting rebuttal coming from Mr. (or Ms?) Nobody. But, no, I am aware of no such negative connotations outside of the 3rd Grade (or high school football lockerroom).

    No, the job description doesn’t change. But, try as I might, I can find no traditional references to teacherwomen or nurseladie. The term spokesman was never considered to have a “gender label” “Spokes” is not a title. Spokesman or spokeswoman is the title, depending on whether you are a girl or a boy.

  5. Eye Spy says:

    Just taking it a step farther—Robert Gibbs (BHO’s spokesMAN). I will give you the MAN, but I am having trouble with the SPOKES part.

  6. Mike Netherland says:

    This is why I have argued for the use of the genderless “Flak” to describe those like Gibbs and Hammer.

    Of course Gibbs has a title, White House Press Secretary, but that’s a bit much when space is a premium. Also, as M Nobody would argue (no doubt) the term Secretary has negative connotations.

  7. where there's smoke... says:

    Well, i am sure that if you think about it for a second, you’ll recognize why calling grown men and women “girls and boys” might be considered diminutive.

    In fact, going back to reconstruction “boy” is what white southerners called any african american male, no matter age or social status.

    As for why women (like me) don’t like it, I am not a girl. I got my period, lost my virginity, had two kids, am grown enough to make decisions about my family, finances, future. I consider myself a woman.

  8. Mike Netherland says:

    Well, now we know you are a girl. And you seem to have survived puberty. Again I submit thst it is only the ignorant and the immature who think using the terms boy and girl is derogatory.

    A boy traditionally was and still is used to describe a male servant, whether it was on the high seas (cabin boy) on the beach, (cabana boy) or on the plantation, where, by the way, there were no African Americans. I believe the term you were looking for was slave.

    Please don’t project your white, liberal feminist guilt backward in time. God, I hope you are not a public school teacher.

  9. where there's smoke... says:

    boo hoo. the big bad neanderthal has insulted me with words like ignorant and immature. it is so painful that I can hardly type.

    I am ecstatic to know, however, that you are so painfully easy to bait.

    I do appreciate that you could manage to throw a few compliments my way by the end of your missive. I appreciate the “liberal feminist,” and am super proud that your recognized both of those traits. Thanks!

  10. Mike Netherland says:

    So, you ARE a public school teacher. God help us all. You appreciate the liberal feminist reference because it is redundant. I just realized that.

    Anyway, you should begin all of your comments with “As a liberal white feminist public school teacher…” that way you can stop pretending that you are just like everyone else. Then we can all skip to the next comment.

    And I don’t think anyone reading these comments would say that I had intended to insult you in that last comment. Let’s ask:

    Is anyone else but John reading these comments? Do you think I insulted Mrs. Nobody in that last comment?

  11. where there's smoke... says:

    I am not sure where the public school teacher thing came from, but to set the record straight, –not my line of work.

    I can’t imagine what has made you such a bitter, angry little boy, but I do sincerely hope that you get it worked out.

    Best Regards,
    Mrs. Nobody

  12. Mike Netherland says:

    Well, that came about four comments ago. Do try to keep up. I am neither bitter nor angry, but this seems to be the pattern of debate when liberals are losing. Declare your opponent as being bitter and angry and express a false hope for his complete recovery. You disappoint me though. I expected you, at this point, to accuse me of spewing hate or venom or poison.

    Well it has been an interesting and fun exchange. Good luck in your next one. I hope you lose that one, too. See? Honesty. Try it.

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